I’ve been commuting to work (by bike) for about 4 years now. I’ve learned alot about what to do and more importantly, what NOT to do.
Along those lines, I’ve tweaked my commuter bike to suit my needs.
2 of the best things I’ve added to my bike are my panniers (saddle-bags) and front and back fenders.
As I rode in today, the streets were wet. Rain has PUMMELED the Charlotte area this week. Torrential downpours are now par for the course at anytime here.
In the past the wet roads kept me off my bike. The splatter from the tires would ruin my work clothes, or just make it an unenjoyable ride in.
Not any more. I rode in today just fine. Roads were wet, but I was dry as sand. Best $20 I ever spent was on those front and back fenders.
I rode through puddles today with complete confidence that I wouldn’t have the “skunk mark” up my back or get a dousing from my front tire. Love those fenders.
And the Panniers? I’ve had them now for about a year. What a God-send those are. I no longer carry the weight (and sweat) of my stuff in a backpack. The bike now carries the load.
Surprisingly, the panniers can hold quite a bit. The bike gets heavy to lift, but when I’m riding it, I really don’t feel the extra weight on the bike. That’s a good thing.
Having the panniers makes me think twice about the stuff I put in them. “Do I really need this?” is a common utterance of mine each morning. I try to bring “just the essentials.”
As I mentioned, I’ve come a long way since my early days of bike commuting. I like to say I’m riding smarter now, not harder.